August 16 Arsenal v Crystal Palace Burnley v Chelsea Leicester City v Everton Liverpool v Southampton Manchester United v Swansea City Newcastle United v Manchester City Queens Park Rangers v Hull City Stoke City v Aston Villa West Bromwich Albion v Sunderland West Ham United v Tottenham Hotspur August 23 Aston Villa v Newcastle United Chelsea v Leicester City Crystal Palace v West Ham United Everton v Arsenal Hull City v Stoke City Manchester City v Liverpool Southampton v West Bromwich Albion Sunderland v Manchester United Swansea City v Burnley Tottenham Hotspur v Queens Park Rangers August 30 Aston Villa v Hull City Burnley v Manchester United Everton v Chelsea Leicester City v Arsenal Manchester City v Stoke City Newcastle United v Crystal Palace Queens Park Rangers v Sunderland Swansea City v West Bromwich Albion Tottenham Hotspur v Liverpool West Ham United v Southampton September 13 Arsenal v Manchester City Chelsea v Swansea City Crystal Palace v Burnley Hull City v West Ham United Liverpool v Aston Villa Manchester United v Queens Park Rangers Southampton v Newcastle United Stoke City v Leicester City Sunderland v Tottenham Hotspur West Bromwich Albion v Everton September 20Aston Villa v Arsenal Burnley v Sunderland Everton v Crystal Palace Leicester City v Manchester United Manchester City v Chelsea Newcastle United v Hull City Queens Park Rangers v Stoke City Swansea City v Southampton Tottenham Hotspur v West Bromwich Albion West Ham United v Liverpool September 27Arsenal v Tottenham Hotspur Chelsea v Aston Villa Crystal Palace v Leicester City Hull City v Manchester City Liverpool v Everton Manchester United v West Ham United Southampton v Queens Park Rangers Stoke City v Newcastle United Sunderland v Swansea City West Bromwich Albion v Burnley October 4Aston Villa v Manchester City Chelsea v Arsenal Hull City v Crystal Palace Leicester City v Burnley Liverpool v West Bromwich Albion Manchester United v Everton Sunderland v Stoke City Swansea City v Newcastle United Tottenham Hotspur v Southampton West Ham United v Queens Park Rangers October 18Arsenal v Hull City Burnley v West Ham United Crystal Palace v Chelsea Everton v Aston Villa Manchester City v Tottenham Hotspur Newcastle United v Leicester City Queens Park Rangers v Liverpool Southampton v Sunderland Stoke City v Swansea City West Bromwich Albion v Manchester United October 25Burnley v Everton Liverpool v Hull City Manchester United v Chelsea Queens Park Rangers v Aston Villa Southampton v Stoke City Sunderland v Arsenal Swansea City v Leicester City Tottenham Hotspur v Newcastle United West Bromwich Albion v Crystal Palace West Ham United v Manchester City November 1 Arsenal v Burnley Aston Villa v Tottenham Hotspur Chelsea v Queens Park Rangers Crystal Palace v Sunderland Everton v Swansea City Hull City v Southampton Leicester City v West Bromwich Albion Manchester City v Manchester United Newcastle United v Liverpool Stoke City v West Ham United November 8 Burnley v Hull City Liverpool v Chelsea Manchester United v Crystal Palace Queens Park Rangers v Manchester City Southampton v Leicester City Sunderland v Everton Swansea City v Arsenal Tottenham Hotspur v Stoke City West Bromwich Albion v Newcastle United West Ham United v Aston Villa November 22 Arsenal v Manchester United Aston Villa v Southampton Chelsea v West Bromwich Albion Crystal Palace v Liverpool Everton v West Ham United Hull City v Tottenham Hotspur Leicester City v Sunderland Manchester City v Swansea City Newcastle United v Queens Park Rangers Stoke City v Burnley November 29 Burnley v Aston Villa Liverpool v Stoke City Manchester United v Hull City Queens Park Rangers v Leicester City Southampton v Manchester City Sunderland v Chelsea Swansea City v Crystal Palace Tottenham Hotspur v Everton West Bromwich Albion v Arsenal West Ham United v Newcastle United December 2 Arsenal v Southampton Burnley v Newcastle United Crystal Palace v Aston Villa Leicester City v Liverpool Manchester United v Stoke City Swansea City v Queens Park Rangers West Bromwich Albion v West Ham United December 3 Chelsea v Tottenham Hotspur Everton v Hull City Sunderland v Manchester City December 6 Aston Villa v Leicester City Hull City v West Bromwich Albion Liverpool v Sunderland Manchester City v Everton Newcastle United v Chelsea Queens Park Rangers v Burnley Southampton v Manchester United Stoke City v Arsenal Tottenham Hotspur v Crystal Palace West Ham United v Swansea City December 13 Arsenal v Newcastle United Burnley v Southampton Chelsea v Hull City Crystal Palace v Stoke City Everton v Queens Park Rangers Leicester City v Manchester City Manchester United v Liverpool Sunderland v West Ham United Swansea City v Tottenham Hotspur West Bromwich Albion v Aston Villa December 20 Aston Villa v Manchester United Hull City v Swansea City Liverpool v Arsenal Manchester City v Crystal Palace Newcastle United v Sunderland Queens Park Rangers v West Bromwich Albion Southampton v Everton Stoke City
Portugal’s coach, Paulo Bento, could be in trouble after appearing to question the integrity of the Serbian referee, Milorad Mazic, following Monday’s heavy defeat by Germany.
Bento’s team went from rated to ragged inside 45 minutes of their opening World Cupgame, presenting Germany with an easy 4-0 victory and losing three players in the process. Hugo Almeida and Fábio Coentrão were brought off with muscle strains and Pepe will definitely miss the next match, against the USA on Sunday, after picking up the dumbest of red cards eight minutes before the interval. Coentrão is out for at least 10 days and Bento is not confident of having Almeida back in time to face the USA.
“There were two occasions when the referee showed bias, first with the penalty and then with the sending off,” the Portugalcoach said. “I am not saying it was only the referee’s fault. We also made mistakes but the circumstances of what happened in the first half made the rest of the game difficult for us.”
In reality Portugal made life difficult for themselves. Most referees at the tournament would have awarded the penalty against Coentrão that allowed Thomas Müller to score the first of his three goals, from the spot. It could be argued that the defender did not literally pull Mario Götze over but he was clearly using his arms to impede the German’s progress.
The sending-off decision was even more clear cut. Pepe took it upon himself to admonish Müller for play-acting by sticking his head into his opponent’s face. The referee saw it as a headbutt, Müller was sitting on the turf, not doing anything to provoke such a response, and a player with Pepe’s experience, albeit one with a reputation for volatility, badly let down his team-mates in a game of such significance. Not that Bento was willing to point the finger at his defender.
“The sending-off was forced on the player,” he said, somewhat opaquely. “I don’t know if it was because of Pepe’s reputation. It depends what sort of a reputation you think Pepe has.” As of now, it is an even greater one for unreliability than he had before.
In addition the player Portugal were pinning hopes on, Cristiano Ronaldo, had one of his quieter games. It would be harsh to say he failed to turn up – he tried his best and was lively in the opening stages – but his recent injury seems to have taken a lot of the fizz out of his performance.
“Even before Portugal went down to 10 men we were dominating the game,” Joachim Löw said. “We knew their main attacking threats would be Ronaldo and Nani and we controlled them quite comfortably. We sealed them off. We said before the start that our only option was to try and win this game – any other result would have been unacceptable – and we made an excellent opening to the World Cup.
“It was very hot on the pitch and the players noticed that the temperature was taking a toll on fitness but fortunately we were able to establish a winning lead quite early in the game. Any coach has to be satisfied with 3-0 at half-time, whatever the conditions.”
Germany did not come through completely unscathed. Mats Hummels had to leave the pitch with a thigh strain, though thanks to Müller’s hat-trick, the first of the tournament, they were never in trouble. “It was an uphill struggle for Portugal in the second half,” the Bayern Munich striker said. “It was a great start for us, we played an excellent game, but this was just the opener. We have two more group games to play and the focus remains on reaching the knockout stages.”
London calling: Balotelli is understood to want to return to England – and Arsenal are interested
Arsene Wenger has stepped up his interest in Mario Balotelli.
Mirror Sport revealed two weeks agothat Arsenal have been offered Italy’s bad boy striker.
The Gunners’boss Wenger is now ready to pay around £25million for the AC Milan striker, who scored Italy’s winner to beat Englandin their World Cup opener on Saturday night.
AC Milan are ready to offload Balotelli to ease their financial problems by getting him off the wage bill and to rake in a big transfer fee.
Monaco are also interested in the 23-year-old, but Wenger is a long term admirer of the ex-Manchester City striker.
The Frenchman has been interested in signing him in the past so his reputation for creating controversy will not necessarily put him off.
Wenger is at the World Cup as a pundit for French TV and Balotelli’s representatives have also come to Brazil.
Balotelli is understood to want to come back to the Premier League, and Arsenal have made boosting their strike-force with a top-class signing one of their priorities for this summer.
The Italian fits the bill, if they can get him, although Arsenal also maintain an interest in QPR’s French forward Loic Remy – who has a £10m buy-out clause.
In Jesus’ name.